Lunar Development by Mark Mortimer

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Mark Mortimer, President, Lunar Colony Fund

November 5 2015



Imagine if you will a group of people living quite safely upon the Moon's surface. Perhaps it's a small group of four to eight people. Perhaps they spend most of the time within a sealed chamber. Perhaps they live on their own for most of the time. What would they do?

Doing stuff seems very important to us. Just think, many of us value each others existence by what we and what others do. Doing can entail many activities. Maybe we look for a cure for cancer. Maybe we play as part of a sports team. Maybe we roll little cubes in the hopes of winning a prize. Or, maybe we simply enjoy togetherness with another. Sometimes just observing is satisfying. Many people in the developed world spend a lot of time doing just this through electronic media. In any case, whether we classify these activities as leisure or work, we keep busy and we expect others to do so as well.

So what does keeping busy really mean? Let's define things a bit by dividing activities into two main sets; there's work and there's leisure. Work means that we are doing something that results in us making some worthwhile contribution and receiving some sort of compensation; usually financial. Leisure means that we are doing something that results in us feeling better; an emotional compensation. Often those who work long and hard receive excess compensation and can invest their excess. Those who spend a lot of time and effort on leisure may find that they are very comfortable with their life even though they may want for material things.Thus, the ways of keeping busy can be quite unique for each person and what each may do could change day by day if not hour by hour.

Now let's return to our beginning. In particular, what do you see people on the Moon doing? Would they spend all their time at work? Would they spend all their time in leisure? If they worked all the time, what would they do? If they spent all their time at leisure why would others want them there? These questions are quite germane as we must enable perceived activities before we send people to the Moon. For example, if they are to go outside to work,then they need a spacesuit as people can't freely walk upon the Moon's surface. Perhaps they could stay inside a safe chamber and use digital equipment that's connected to Earth's existing digital infrastructure. They would be the longest distance teleworkers ever. But, if they remained isolated in a chamber,why then bother with putting them on the Moon? Indeed it is hard imagining people living on the Moon.

Yet, if we want people to live on the Moon, then we need to have a reason for their presence. A reason not only helps by guiding the people on the Moon, but the reason will also help rationalize the cost for putting them there. And the cost is significant. It will take a noticeable percentage of the global gross domestic product to complete a project to emplace people on the Moon. So to maximize the value of their presence,we must invest in their ability to do work. If we want them to enjoy their lives on the Moon and entice others to join them there then we must enable activities for their leisure. If we enable both these activities, we can expect that people living on the Moon would work as hard as possible to maximize their compensation but still spend time on leisure time so as to simply enjoy life and feel good about living; much as we do on Earth.


So we know people need to be able to do something on the Moon. Let's step back now. Why would people on Earth want to spend any money on a lunar presence as we know it won't come cheap? Let's think of some answers. Would we want to obtain knowledge? Of course! The mere presence of humans on the Moon would teach us about the frailties and strengths of our bodies. Constructing and operating facilities in the harsh lunar locations would enable similar functions in less harsh locations on Earth. And, as with the Apollo Moon program, we would learn more about project skills including program management, large scale financing and technical readiness. These on their own would provide significant benefits for people remaining on the Earth. But, is this enough to fund emplacing people on the Moon? Probably not.

So we ask ourselves, could doing work justify people's presence on the Moon? They could extract resources; maybe mine for exotic minerals. But, as far as we know, everything that's on the Moon is available on the Earth. Unless the Earth is running out of resources then we don't need more.We don't see a critical lack of any material. And given our free market economy then we have a ready system to accommodate a scarcity of material. Further, as we all know, aside from nuclear fission and fusion, we aren't creating or destroying matter. That is, what we have today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. If we're getting short of something, say not enough Palladium, then we'd learn to recycle or we'd find an alternative. So, resource extraction to benefit people on Earth isn't a strong reason for putting people on the Moon.

There is a small caveat to resource extraction. While the amount of matter effectively remains fixed on Earth, the same can't be said for energy. In the grand scheme of things, we know that energy in the universe is always, naturally, going from a high potential to a low potential. In this sense, things on the Earth with energy potential; think coal, oil and waterfalls,naturally lose their potential. As people burn coal and oil,its potential decreases even faster. We also know that the supply of oil and coal is finite. There is no replacement; it is a non-renewable resource. As supplies dwindle and demand increases then businesses must find other sources of potential energy. There is another source; the Sun! If we capture the Sun's energy and direct it to the Earth then this could aid people on Earth and it would be a successful resource extraction endeavour on the Moon.

Aside from resource extraction, there is another good reason for putting people on the Moon. This is to fill the leisure time of people on Earth! As we know, millions if not billions of people now live in mega-cities. Another phrase for a city is a 'concrete jungle'. This concrete jungle has been prescribed to permit as many people to do work. People must make their leisure on their own. Most don't have access to a real jungle or indeed any nature at all. Instead, many resort to leisure in front of electronic media. For example, in the United States an average person will watch over 5 hours of video a day. Is it possible that people will get bored with video? The Moon can counter this boredom. Imagine using another, real world as inspiration for video. With many decades of emplacing infrastructure on the Moon we'd witness trials and tribulations as we push the limits of our capabilities. Capturing this on video would allow everyone on Earth to share in the experience. Developing a whole new world would equally develop a whole new perspective to occupy some leisure time of people on Earth. Given that the number of people on Earth will be surpassing 10 billion in probably less time than emplacing infrastructure on the Moon then providing leisure for all these people does constitute a good reason.

Ultimately though, there's one singular best reason for emplacing a facility on the Moon for people to live there. This reason is to continue advancing our species. We are at a watershed moment. We can continue extending our species to far off places as we've done for thousands of years. Or, we stay put on Earth. Staying put seems wonderful. We've completed the Millennium Development Goals and now have our sights firmly set on the Sustainable Development Goals. We have so many people that governments are encouraging smaller families. The amount of time we spend at leisure continually increases. What's not to like? Well, what's not to like is our exponentially increasing demand upon resources. Some argue that we are in the Anthropocene Era whereby there are so many people that they have a significant impact on Earth's ecosystem and geology. This impact could be strong enough so as to cause a future great reduction in people's standard of living. One way to mediate this effect is by providing an outlet for people to advance off of Earth. We can provide this. We can provide a whole other world to extend to. The other world is the Moon. And the Moon is a natural stepping stone to the next world. Succeeding in this emplacement is the best reason.


Well, we think it is a good idea, even necessary, to put people on the Moon. What sort of challenges might there be? One thing we know about the Moon is that it isn't a very pleasant place. Sure people have walked there but it was at equatorial locations during daylight. Daylight is a benefit as with it we can see things and with it the surface gets a bit warmer. However,daylight brings serious radiation issues because the Moon has no protective atmosphere. Then,when the Moon rotates so a person is out of the Sun's shine, things get much worse. Sure there's no radiation then but equally there's no real heat reservoir so the Sun's energy quickly dissipates and it gets cold. Very cold. Sliding toward absolute zero. Because of this cold there's no volatile chemicals. There's rock; lots and lots of solid rock. But neither liquid nor atmosphere is present. Given this almost all industrial practices on the Earth would be useless on the Moon. Building a place for people to safely work and enjoy leisure will be challenging.

Yet, living on the Moon isn't impossible. Indeed many places that we thought were impossible to live now have people there. For example, there are over 1000 people living in Antarctica over the winter months and up to 4000 during its still-cold summer. The International Space Station, just at the edges of Earth's atmosphere, accommodates up to 10 people some for durations over a year. We have hotels under water and igloos in the far north. Really, for the Moon, all we need do is accommodate the human body's need for food, water and air and then we add equipment so people can work and enjoy life. Today's expectation to achieve this is to build a structure on Earth and deliver it as one or multiple payloads to the Moon's surface. Once on the surface, the structure is enabled to accommodate people then it is tested. With its capability confirmed we can safely send people there to live. Does this seem farfetched? It shouldn't. We've already sent temporary accommodations to its surface during the Apollo program. And, we've sent up many, many payloads, over 150, of material to the International Space Station. Both have been successful and both prove that emplacing a habitation facility on the Moon is possible.

Let's quickly mention some technical requirements. The habitation facility needs enough shielding to keep the Sun's radiation at bay. It needs heaters for warmth at night. And it needs a stock room with supplies. The atmosphere in the habitation must be kept breathable and must not escape. The facility must survive typical lunarquakes and small asteroid strikes. The facility must maintain its capability for many decades. The facility must not excessively impact the Moon's surface. These are some requirements for the facility. These requirements can easily be expanded in detail and breadth so as to be sure to enable occupants to work and live safely.

So, really, putting a habitable facility upon the Moon's surface is no great stretch of the imagination. Rather, it is regular hard work using our existing project development technique of requirements identification, analysis, definition, implementation and utilization. We have the material on Earth. We have the fabrication processes on Earth. And we have the launch systems to transport things from the Earth to the Moon. Also, we will know what these people will likely be doing on the Moon. Why then aren't we doing this? There have certainly been many attempts, many plans laid; yet here we remain on Earth.


Let's diverge for a moment. What's a project? Effectively a project is an activity that completes an undertaking. It also has an end state. And most important, it has a finite expectation or scope. A recent, large-scale example is the Ichthys Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) resource extraction project in Australia. This project will see the completion of a number of installations. In a rather novel approach, it has extraction and preliminary processing facilities built and installed off the shore of Australia. The final processing facility itself is on the shore. And the storage and offloading facilities are again off shore. The data for this resource extraction is impressive. The LNG field has about 12 trillion cubic feet of gas. The project's facility should supply off-take for a little over 40 years. The cost to build the facility is $34billion; the largest privately funded project of its time. A consortium of sponsors has invested in this project and customers have already claimed all the off-take. This last point demonstrates the support needed for the project; investors and lenders had customer's expectations to meet. The project's end state is when the facility gets turned over for routine operations. Its scope is the functioning facilities. Thus, the Ichthys resource extraction project meets the definition of a project.

This definition is useful for describing an undertaking to emplace a lunar habitation. That is, we want to emplace a facility on the Moon's surface that allows for people to safely live and work. This provides a project scope. What about an end state? Well, putting one person on the Moon for one minute satisfies our project, but doesn't satisfy our expectations. Rather, we expect people to be able to work and live on the Moon indefinitely. To ensure this, we will set an end condition of our project of people being on the Moon in a self-sufficient state.

The need for self-sufficiency is as much a survival condition as it is a political condition. It's a survival condition as we know that rocketry remains an inherently risky activity. With its risks, we cannot be assured of sending supplies from the Earth to the Moon. Thus, for survival's sake, the people on the Moon must be able to keep themselves alive, presumably for a very long time, if not indefinitely. As well, self-sufficiency is a political need as the people who remain on Earth do not want the perpetual dependency of other people who are far away and not providing benefit to them. For any number of reasons, the people on Earth may decide to end the provisioning. If the people on the Moon are not self-sufficient then they would have to return to Earth and the facility would be empty and thus not fulfill its mandate of enabling people to live. To avoid this,our project needs a self-sufficient state to make an effective end state.

When most people consider self-sufficiency they envision the biological requirement; that is for air, water and food. However, for our habitation on the Moon, the self-sufficiency must extend to the financial requirement. Let's explore this. Imagine that we've just emplaced a facility on the Moon and people are occupying it. Regularly we send supplies from the Earth to the Moon. Therefore, the people on the Moon should work to cover the carrying costs of the loan for emplacing the facility as well as the ongoing cost of supplies. We know that this is impossible as they have no product that's valuable enough to supply this. Therefore, to cover the costs, the people on the Moon will need financial assistance from people on the Earth. This financial assistance can come as donations whether from people, corporations or governments. As time passes, the donations decrease the principal on the loan. Also, improving technology decreases the need for resupplies. Eventually,enough people on the Moon will work while enough supplies are produced locally so as to manage both the financial carrying costs and the shrinking supply costs. At this time the people on the Moon are financially self-sufficient. And, at this time, the project would be complete. So, things seem simple don't they? We have defined a specific project. The project features an achievable undertaking. And, there are many good and indeed necessary reasons for this project to occur. Again, why hasn't anyone undertaken this project? This is a question that won't be addressed in this paper. However, there are two recent developments that make this project achievable today. One development is the global Internet. The Internet allows for almost everyone in the world to be able to communicate with anyone else nearly instantaneously. Further, the Internet allows one person to communicate with every other person who can access the Internet, assuming that they want to communicate. The other development, or rather improvement, is the degree of national cooperation. For example, there are 15 nations directly supporting the International Space Station. The European Union is a peace-ensuring agreement of 28 signatory nations. There are 161 signatories to the World Trade Organization. And, of course, there is the long running world body, the United Nations with 193 of 196 Earth nations being members. This level of international cooperation and indeed the continuous improvement of this together with the global communication network do make this project seem simpler though maybe not simple.

Yet, achieving difficult things is a hallmark of our species. We have a world spanning communication network so that like-minded individuals can connect. We can use this network to combine and coordinate our contributions. And we can use the international agreements to ensure that we equally understand the management of this project. We're continually seeing resolutions to technical issues. What don't we have? Really, the challenge for this project is the funding. A reasonable figure for emplacing a small habitation is 500B special drawing rights (SDR). This may not ensure self-sufficiency. But this is not an upfront cost; it would be spread over many years, probably decades. But it still must be gathered. Is this possible? Let's look at similar efforts. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has revenue around $3.6B US annually. The Agha Khan Fund for Economic Development had revenues of over $3.5B. These organizations demonstrate that spreading an effort across the Earth can enable like-minded individuals to gather and contribute. So you wonder, "How do we have people live on the Moon?" Well, let's consider the establishment of an organization that binds itself to all the standard international finance rules. Then, let's define the sole function of this organization as to accumulate funds for the project to emplace people upon the Moon. Last, have the organization use the Internet to reach out to everyone and every other organization on Earth to combine for assistance, donations and contributions. Last, entrust this organization to direct the contributions to achieve this project. This organization would see people living on the Moon in a self-sufficient habitation. Now what would you say if I told you this organization already exists? It's the Lunar Colony Fund. You can find us on the Internet. Are you ready to contribute to humankind's next great adventure?


A government is a funny thing. They are omnipotent in our lives. As said, the only certainty we have is death and taxes. And of course the taxes go to the government. People put an inordinate time and effort into choosing a government that will spend their taxes. When they have chosen, they expect their government to do wondrous things. The government should find jobs for everyone, should guarantee peace at home and abroad and should conduct research to improve our lives for tomorrow. At the same time the government must reduce taxes so as to allow people optimal living standards. This is a funny contradiction faced by governments.

For many decades now, constituents have been exhorting their governments to emplace a human outpost on the Moon. They provided many sound arguments; some reproduced herein. They provided plans and drawings and theory on just why their objective was capable, valid and necessary. However, there is no physical evidence that we are any closer to emplacing people on the Moon today than before. The very real consternation is that through representative leadership the governments of today have to be much more responsive to their constituents than ever before. This is a marvellous thing as governments are directed to spend their taxes upon direct benefits like education and health care rather than on grandiose schemes such as the Giza pyramids, the Hohenschwangau and Neuschwannstein castles or the Apollo program. However, if governments focus upon the direct needs of people today then who prepares for the future?

Infrastructure development upon the Moon does not fall into the responsibility of any national government. Many bureaucracies propose further exploration of the Moon. Some occasionally propose sending people back to the Moon to assist in the exploration. None propose establishing a permanent outpost or a self-sufficient colony. This disinterest could be a sign that governments no longer consider expansionism and domination as a gainful pursuit. More aptly though this signals that governments must listen to their constituents and their constituents do not want to spend the required large amount of tax dollars to emplace the necessary infrastructure. Certainly some constituents do want a future that includes people living off of planet Earth. But most do not want their taxes spent upon this infrastructure development.

So, if the governments do not have a mandate to emplace a colony upon the Moon, then how do people who want such a future achieve such a future? This is when we return to one of our previous comments. The people who want such a future must focus their desires. By coming together as a recognizable group of sufficient size then we can manage the risks of applying for the large loans necessary to build and emplace the infrastructure. By providing support in this way, we become the constituents of a lunar government even though such an institute doesn't exist nor does such a country exist. Nevertheless, our power as a group is sufficient to enable such an undertaking. And, eventually, the people on the Moon would install their own administration, their own government and presumably take on the effort to ensure the welfare of the people living on the Moon.

And, with the successful completion of this undertaking, the process for emplacing people on another world is proven. This process then becomes readily available for people to emplace infrastructure upon worlds elsewhere in our solar system; Mars and beyond. You want to be a part of this, don't you!